Hudson Institute 2021 Emerging Leaders announced

Six early career researchers have been chosen for the 2021 Hudson Institute Emerging Leaders program.

Congratulations to Dr Shayanti Mukherjee, Dr Marius Dannappel, Dr Natália Sampaio, Dr Mohamed Saad, Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara and Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani for their selection onto our Emerging Leader Program 2021.

After a competitive application process, these six awardees have been selected to participate in the prestigious annual program (established in 2019 at Hudson Institute) by the Hudson Institute ‘Career Development Committee’ in collaboration with WALT Institute.  The goal of the program is to empower high-achieving Early Career Researchers to reach their full potential in becoming independent researchers and future leaders in their fields.

The tailored training scheme focuses on preparing awardees for the responsibility of managing an independent research group, providing tools to cope with the pressure of a research career, and developing the confidence to create change in the scientific community.

While the initiative will provide awardees with personalised and comprehensive leadership training and mentoring, the wider impact of the program includes Awardees sharing their knowledge and experiences with other early career researchers, ensuring what they have learnt will help others.

“Establishing a sustainable career in medical research is incredibly difficult; as a result, highly talented young scientists are too often lost to other careers. The pandemic has put further strain to early career researchers and the program provides the Awardees not only with leadership skills but also practical tools to bolster their resilience, ensuring they reach their potential as future leaders”, says Career Development Committee Chair, Dr Minni Anko.

Emerging Leaders program awardees

Dr Shayanti Mukherjee from the Endometrial Stem Cell Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Shayanti Mukherjee

Research Scientist, Endometrial Stem Cell Biology Research group

Dr Mukherjee’s research merges stem cell biology, nanotechnology and 3D printing to bioengineer new therapies for the treatment and prevention of pelvic organ prolapse that affects women after childbirth.

“I am thrilled to be part of this unique program, which is crucial at this stage of my career . It definitely gives me an opportunity to understand authentic leadership, learn to extract better outcomes everyday and create a nurturing environment all while driving research excellence.”

Dr Marius Dannappel from the Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Marius Dannappel

Postdoctoral Scientist, Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Research group

Dr Dannappel investigates new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of colorectal cancer. He characterises novel regulators of the Wnt pathway, a key driver of colorectal cancer (CRC), and explores their potential as new drug targets to improve patient outcomes.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the authentic leadership training. This training workshop will equip me with new strategies to positively influence our research community, which I hope will translate into more research output and positively affect the wider community.”

Dr Natalia Sampaio

Dr Natália Sampaio

Research Scientist, Regulation of Interferon and Innate Signalling Research group

Dr Sampaio studies how our cells can sense genetic material (RNA and DNA) produced during viral infections, to understand how inappropriate sensing leads to disease and how rapid detection can resolve infections effectively.

“I am excited to be selected for this program. As an early career researcher, it can be difficult to balance work and family life, and hit the milestones important for success. I look forward to learning strategies to hone my leadership skills and manage my workload.”

Dr Mohamed Saad from the Cancer and Immune Signalling Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Mohamed Saad

Postdoctoral Scientist, Cancer and Immune Signalling Lab

Dr Saad’s research is in inflammatory diseases and cancer, in particular lung cancer. His focus is on elucidating the role of the ADAM17 protease, the iRhom family of pseudoproteases and IL-6 cytokine signaling in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases and cancer.

“I am really excited to be part of this program as it will allow me to develop my skills as a research leader.”

Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara, post-doctoral scientist from the Functional RNAomics Research group at Hudson Institute

Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara

Postdoctoral Scientist, Functional RNAomics Research group

Dr Ratnadiwakara’s research focus is on understanding RNA regulatory pathways in colorectal cancer and how these pathways can be harnessed to combat late stage colorectal cancers that are currently incurable.

“I believe that the Emerging Leaders Program will help me develop a strong understanding of my personal strengths and weaknesses and will give me confidence when confronting tough decisions and ethical dilemmas that will come with future leadership positions.”

Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani, Postdoctoral Scientist in the Developmental and Cancer Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani

Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Research Fellow, Developmental Cancer Biology Research group

Dr Vaghjiani’s research focuses on investigating the role of Hedgehog signaling in osteosarcoma or bone cancer.  His recent work identified mutations tumour suppressor genes that predicts response to hedgehog pathway inhibition. This would help in patient stratification, tailored therapies, and better outcomes for patient care.

“I am really excited to be selected as one of Hudson Institute’s Emerging Leaders. I am looking forward to gaining skills that will further develop my career as an independent researcher.”